Medical services in all the major hospitals in the capital were severely affected Saturday as resident doctors continued their indefinite strike against a proposed reservation quota for backward classes.
Patients from outside New Delhi who had come to the hospitals seeking better treatment are regretting their decision.
"I arrived at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) early this morning from Agra to get my son, who is suffering from TB, treated. But there is no one to take care of us," said Rajiv Garg.
"All the resident doctors are on strike and senior doctors are not paying heed to my requests. In the emergency ward, they told me to wait for a couple of days," Garg told IANS as his 14-year-old-son waited outside the emergency ward of AIIMS.
"A nurse told me that resident doctors may return to work after Monday and things are expected to be normal after that. I regret my decision to come to AIIMS," he added.
Niranjan Singh from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, was waiting at AIIMS to get doctors attend to his elder brother, who had met with a serious accident.
"I have been waiting for the last two hours for an X-Ray to be done on my brother's hand. He had lost a lot of blood and his head and hands are still bleeding," said Singh.
"It is my first visit to AIIMS but the experience has been horrible. With the hospital running without doctors, the situation is very bad," said Singh, wiping blood from his brother's head.
According to him, there was one more person at the hospital in a serious condition who was yet to get treatment.
Medical services have been severely affected in four major hospitals - AIIMS, Lok Nayak Jay Prakash, University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS) and Maulana Azad Medical College. Services at Safdarjung Hospital were partially affected.
Vijay Kumar, a patient who had come from Ferozabad in Uttar Pradesh, said that doctors at AIIMS had told him to go to Safdarjung Hospital. "At Safdarjung, the situation is even worse. There is a long queue and I don't know when my turn will come."
"A resident doctor told me that some of them are on strike and some doctors are on holiday due to Buddha Poornima today. Where will I take my six-year-old daughter for treatment? I am a poor person and I cannot afford to treat her in a private hospital," said Goluram Yadav, from Bihar.
Satish Kumar, whose brother is suffering from a bullet injury, was told by hospital authorities to wait till May 20.
"We have been in the hospital for the last seven days but there is no bed. Today, the doctors told us that due to the strike my brother cannot be operated before May 20."
For the past two weeks hundreds of students of five medical colleges in the capital hxave been protesting the government's move to reserve 27 percent of seats for other backward classes in 20 central universities, the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Management and AIIMS - which will take the reservation quota to 49.5 percent.
According to Arvind Kumar, AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association secretary, the resident doctors will not withdraw their strike until the proposed quota is withdrawn. "We have only one demand - withdraw the proposed 27 percent reservation quota to maintain the sanctity of the institutions of excellence."
"Till that time the strike is indefinite."